Women's revolution… a revolution within a revolution
Eight years after the outbreak of the Rojava Revolution, July 19, 2012, and in light of the events and developments in the region, the role of women in the revolution was reflected in the success of the principles of the revolution, especially with regard to their freedom.
In our dossier, we will list the stages women went through during the Rojava Revolution.
Women prepared for their revolution 40 years ago
After a long march of frontal work, women named their feminist organization in 2005 as "Star Union", and after developing their organizational work and expanding the horizon of women's organization, the Union transformed into Kongra Star, the name by which it was known during a two-day conference on 25 February 2016.
At that time, the women's union that operated under the umbrella of the Syrian Baath Party was identifying itself as a federation of Syrian women, but it did not take a decision on any women's issues, and its work was brief on propagating the thought of the Baath Party.
Mona Yusef, the Member of the Kongra Star Coordination in North and East Syria describes the women's union as a female in form, but its content and work are to impose a masculine mentality and advertise it, and his work is brief on developing manual talents from sewing, embroidery and keeping completely away from the development of women mentally or protecting and safeguarding their rights.
Mona says that the Star Union which has become Kongra Star aims primarily to educate and develop women intellectually and mentally, and urge them to demand their rights, but it has faced many obstacles and difficulties as a result of the male mentality.
The Deputy Co-chair of the Executive Council in the city of Manbij Jamila Ahmed notes: "It is a mistake to link the struggle and organization of women to the timing of the outbreak of the Rojava Revolution. Women in northern and eastern Syria have struggled for more than 40 years against the background of being introduced to the leader's ideology and philosophy, where they worked to organize themselves before the outbreak of the revolution. Moreover, there are still dozens of them detained in the Syrian prisons, and hundreds of activists joined the Freedom Movement. All of this has a history and confirms that women have prepared for their revolution in advance."
The Co-chair of the Internal Body, and the first woman who worked as a co-chair in the Democratic Autonomous Administration in Rojava, Hevi Mostafa, agreed on the readiness of women in Rojava for the revolution, and said: "As a result of women engaging in frontal work and struggle for many years before the outbreak of the Rojava Revolution, they were organized and ready to announce thier revolution, as they made the Rojava Revolution women's revolution."
How did the revolution become the revolution of women?
The leader Abdullah Ocalan urges the consideration of the woman's revolution as a cultural revolution, and he says in his arguments: "The regime has long ago missed the opportunity to straighten itself for reform, so what is needed is women's revolution that runs all social fields. Just as women's slavery is the deepest slavery, women's revolution must be the deepest revolution of freedom and equality."
Women had participated in revolutions throughout history, but without highlighting their spedcial character, or an organization and movement calling for women's rights and freedom, and their role ended with the end of the revolution, according to what Hevi Mostafa refers to.
She also says that what distinguished Rojava's revolution from previous revolutions is the organization of women in all fields, the continuity in developing this organization and preserving its feminist character during the revolution. This is what made it the revolution of women.
Women have highlighted their presence in all fields and organized themselves in the political, diplomatic, military, civil, and other arenas. There are more than 20 private women agencies operating in northern and eastern Syria.
Among them (the Kongra Star established in 2005, the Women's Council in North and East Syria formed in 2019, the Syrian Women's Council established in 2017, Sara Organization to Combat Violence against Women founded in 2013, the Women's Training and Awareness House 2013, the Women's Organization in North and East Syria in 2014, Women's committees and councils in civil administrations, Women's Protection Units (YPJ) formed in March 2013, Women's Asayîş, Women's Science (Jinologî) opened their first academy in Afrin canton before their occupation in July 2017, and the Young Women's Union, Women's Media Union) other than women's communes, and in every instituation, body and administration, there is a special committee for women's affairs.
Not to mention the role that women played in the political and diplomatic field, their participation in international forums and lectures regarding the Syrian crisis, and discussion of Middle East issues.
In addition to the resistance and championships achieved by fighters in the Women's Protection Units in the battles taking place in the region, starting from the Kobane and Afrin battles, and more recently the Turkish occupation attacks on the cities of Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê on October 9, 2019, and most importantly their leadership of the war to eliminate terrorism represented by ISIS mercenaries and the liberation of thousands of Yezidis.
Now, women resist against the attacks of the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries, and lead the popular war in northern and eastern Syria, especially in the occupied areas in Afrin, Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê , until the Turkish occupation became afraid of their leading the revolution, so it tries to eliminate them, as it targeted the Secretary General of the Future Syria Party Hevrin Khalaf in October 2019, the Coordinators of the Star Conference in the region, Furat Zahra Berkel, Habboun Mulla Khalil and Amina Wessi on June 23, 2020, not to mention its crimes against women in the occupied areas to undermine the women's revolution.
Did women, with their organization, reach the required level during the Rojava Revolution?
Women have given a special form and character to the revolution that made them different from previous revolutions, as there are thousands of women in the north and east of Syria who run councils, civil, political and military institutions and bodies, not to mention their role in the joint presidency.
With a march full of organization and sacrifices leading the Rojava Revolution, there must be shortcomings and obstacles in self-organization, intellectual development.
The Deputy Co-chair of the Executive Council of Manbij, Jamila Ahmed, believes that women and feminist organization in particular should be convinced that women still lack intellectual wealth and awareness, and say: "We have to convince ourselves that we have not reached the required intellectual level in accordance with the standards of the revolution , especially the women's revolution."
Jamila Ahmed says that controlling the male mentality with the women's thought and personality exposes them to deficiencies, especially in their political and administrative viewpoint. In many cases, woman think and look with the men's view or the male mentality at world politics.
As for the Co-chair of the Internal Body of North and East Syria, Hevi Mostafa, she noted that women have somewhat exceeded their weakness in their role in the political arena, where in recent years, they have demonstrated their presence within political parties and heading negotiations and political debates in international forums.
The leader Abdullah Ocalan says in the defense of the people: "It is realistic to consider our century a social stage in which the will of free women will escalate, so we must think about the established institutions necessary for women and their establishment, perhaps for the sake of the entire century, and the need may arise for women's freedom parties. Then, the pretexts for establishing these parties and their main tasks will be represented to consolidate the ideological and political principles, and priority to be for freedom, its implementation, supervision and management.
The impact of women's organization in Rojava regionally and globally
Women's resistance in Kobane battle in 2014, the sacrifice of Arin Merkan and Revana Rojava in their self-sacrifice operation, and the emergence of women in the political forums promoted the women's revolution in Rojava, and drew the attention of women from within, Kurdistan and the world to know the secret of the Rojava Revolution.
All of this was preceded by the resurgence of women in all fields, which led the women of al-Shahba, Aleppo, Manbij, al-Raqqa, al-Tabqa and Deir ez-Zor after liberating them from ISIS mercenaries not to leave a field or a vacuum for the functioning of life in those cities as the previous, and to start organizing women and their involvement in various fields, based on what you provided in the regions of Rojava.
Apart from that, women in Rojava have pushed dozens of internationalists from different countries of the world to go to the region, learn about the secret of the Rojava Revolution, in addition to the involvement of many of them in the ranks of the organizational and military work, believing in the principle of the freedom of women for which women in northern and eastern Syria are struggling.
With intellectual awareness, women will further influence the revolution
The Deputy Co-chair of the Executive Council in Manbij Jamila Ahmed said, "Women can influence more in the Rojava Revolution through intellectual awareness and development, and take the principle of their freedom as a basis for them. They must eliminate the secondary mentality and be convinced that they are responsible and more concerned with managing society intellectually, socially, politically and others."
According to a survey in various regions of north and east Syria, especially among women who work in various fields, an agreement appears about the women's lack of cultural and intellectual awareness, which makes them not confident in their efforts, or unable to express their abilities, as a result of the suppression practiced on them over history. Furthermore, their demands unified around studying women's privacy within society, increasing awareness campaigns and intensifying intellectual training.